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From the Trenches

Outliers – Gladwell Does it Again

Mike Sweeney | December 29, 2008

I typically don’t like reading anything classified as a “business book”.  Sometimes these books are how-tos, and by page 10 I realize that I can’t possibly implement the “system” that the author is pushing.  Sometimes these books are success stories or autobiographies, and while I like a good story as much as the next guy, I simply get bored reading 400 pages about one person’s life.  Sometimes these books are thought leadership or educational pieces, and while I am certainly in constant pursuit of knowledge, I find that most of these books contain repackaged content from someone or somewhere else.

I received Outliers as a Christmas gift, and picked it up yesterday around 6 PM.  Knocked out 100 pages when I was supposed to be doing a variety of other things on a Sunday night.  I obviously haven’t finished the book yet, but I am excited enough about what I’ve read that I had to write about it.

Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and Blink, simply does what he always does – he makes you think about the world in a way that you likely haven’t thought about it.  And he never does it in an “I’m a genius, so I have to write about extremely complex, hard-to-understand subjects” type of way.  He takes simple success stories – Bill Gates and The Beatles for example – and he exposes you to reasons for their success that you likely never would have dreamt up.

I am already feeling like it’s a bit unfair to write about this until I finish the book, so I’ll stop there and come back with a full review later.  In the meantime, if you’re a stats geek who also enjoys stories that dig below the surface, pick it up.  If nothing else, I promise you’ll be entertained.


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About Mike Sweeney:

As Right Source’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Sweeney creates, plans, and implements our vision, mission, culture, and strategic direction as well as serving as an advisor to our clients. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and has more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing strategy, including digital, content, and marketing technology. You can find Mike on LinkedIn.